Protein bars are a great addition to any weight loss diet. They’re a convenient, low-calorie way to satisfy cravings — you can reach for a high-quality, ready-made snack instead of eating something that sabotages your fitness goals.
Protein bars also make it easier to plan your meals. They’re perfect for days when you’re too busy to cook or you’re traveling and won’t have access to quality food.
That said, not all protein bars are good for weight loss. Many of them contain added sugar and other ingredients that will get in the way of your weight loss journey — even if the packaging claims that the protein bar is healthy.
Here are five of the best protein bars for weight loss, as well as what to look for in a good protein bar.
4 Best Protein Bars for Weight Loss
These are five of the best protein bars for weight loss, with ingredients that are actually good for you.
1. Best Low-Carb Protein Bar: Perfect Keto
If you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, you want a protein bar that’s low in net carbs and higher in protein and fat. You probably also want a bar with high-quality functional ingredients.
Perfect Keto Bars are an excellent choice. Our bars have only 3g of net carbs and are made with healthy fats and collagen protein. They also contain natural prebiotic fiber that makes the bars more filling and promotes good gut health.
Every ingredient in Perfect Keto Bars pulls its weight. Highlights include:
- Collagen protein
- Almond butter
- Tapioca fiber
- Organic coconut oil
- Cacao butter
- Sea salt
Perfect Keto Bars have no artificial sweeteners or flavors and are designed specifically to fit a low-carb or keto lifestyle. They’re filling enough to be a meal replacement and come in a variety of flavors, including:
- Almond butter brownie
- Chocolate chip cookie dough
- Cinnamon roll
- Birthday cake
- Salted caramel
- Peanut butter chocolate chip
- Banana bread
- Lemon poppyseed
2. Best Low-Calorie Protein Bar: Sucralose-Free Quest Bars
Quest Bars have a high protein-to-calorie ratio, low sugar, a decent amount of fiber, and fairly good ingredients. They don’t use artificial flavors and many varieties contain quality ingredients like palm oil, almonds, peanuts, cashews, and whey or casein protein.
About half of Quest Bars’ many flavors contain sucralose, an artificial sweetener that many people choose to avoid.
However, Quest has begun offering sucralose-free bars in recent years. They’re sweetened with stevia, a plant extract used as a common sweetener, and erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol that doesn’t affect blood sugar.
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According to Quest’s website, the following Quest Bar flavors are sucralose-free:
- Pumpkin Pie
- Cinnamon Roll
- Strawberry Cheesecake
- Coconut Cashew
- Maple Waffle
- Chocolate Hazelnut
- Mocha Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Peppermint Bark
- Peanut Butter Brownie Smash
- Double Chocolate Chunk
Note that these flavors do contain sugar alcohols, which can cause digestive distress if you’re sensitive to them. They’re fine for many people though. And while Quest Bars may not have the best vitamin and mineral profiles, they do have excellent macronutrient profiles and are a good low-calorie source of protein.
3. Best Meat Bar: EPIC Bars
EPIC Provisions takes a new approach to protein bars: paleo-friendly bars made of high-quality meat with natural secondary ingredients added.
All of EPIC’s meat comes from animals raised in good conditions, and the bars’ ingredients are almost exclusively whole foods.
If you’re carb-conscious, you may want to avoid the bars that have fruit as a secondary ingredient, as many of them contain 5-6 grams of sugar. In general, however, EPIC bars are a good choice if you want meat as your protein source instead of protein powder.
4. Best Vegan Protein Bar: Bhu Fit Vegan Superfood Bar
Bhu Foods is known for their vegan snacks made with good ingredients. Their vegan chocolate chip cookie protein bars use pea protein and contain quality plant-based ingredients like coconut flour, cashews, palm oil, tapioca fiber, and cacao butter.
They’re sweetened with monk fruit extract, a natural sweetener that doesn’t affect your blood sugar.
If you want a vegan protein bar made with whole food ingredients, Bhu Foods is a good choice.
Best Protein Bar Alternative: Perfect Keto Cookies
Sustainable weight loss takes time, and after a while, you may crave some variety when it comes to healthy snacking.
If you want a break from your go-to protein bar but you’d still like something healthy that keeps you full for a few hours, Perfect Keto Cookies are an excellent option.
These chewy, satisfying cookies are made with almonds, grass-fed butter, dark chocolate chips, collagen protein, and a variety of other whole food ingredients, and while they’re lower in protein than many protein bars, they’re a decadent alternative that will help you add variety to your diet while still reaching your weight loss goals.
Perfect Keto Cookies come in several flavors, including:
- Chocolate chip
- Peanut butter
- Double chocolate
What Makes a Protein Bar Good for Weight Loss?
When it comes to weight loss, a good protein bar has three things:
1. Zero or Low Sugar
When you check the nutrition label of a protein bar, grams of sugar is the first place to look.
Many manufacturers add sugar to make their protein bars taste better. The problem is that many of these protein bars have more in common with a candy bar than with a healthy snack.
Eating high-sugar foods also destabilizes your blood sugar, which can lead to energy crashes, hunger, and food cravings a couple hours after you eat[*][*][*].
Emerging evidence also suggests that sugar causes inflammation in the part of your brain that controls energy balance, and eating sugar may make it harder for you to resist unhealthy foods[*][*][*].
No matter what diet you follow or what your goals are, you’re better off avoiding added sugars. Your best bet is to choose a protein bar that’s low in sugar, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
2. Good Macronutrient Ratio
Your protein bar should have a macronutrient ratio — the ratio of fat, protein, and carbohydrates — that supports your diet and long-term goals.
Generally speaking, that means a high-protein bar with lower fat and carbs that delivers a lot of protein with fairly few calories.
A good rule of thumb is to look for a protein bar that has about one gram of protein for every 10 calories (for example, 20 grams of protein in a 200-calorie bar).
However, this rule can change depending on your diet. For example, if you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, you may want a protein bar that has low carbs, moderate protein, and higher fat, to fit in with your diet’s overall macronutrient ratio.
3. Quality Ingredients
Most successful diets avoid processed junk food and instead prioritize meat, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, and other whole foods.
Ideally, you would eat whole foods 100% of the time, but in reality that’s difficult to do. When you’re busy, traveling, get struck by a sudden food craving, or just don’t want to cook, it’s useful to have high-quality snacks like protein bars.
That said, it’s still worthwhile to choose a protein bar that is made with good ingredients. Many of the best protein bars have familiar ingredients
like almond butter, peanut butter, egg whites, nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.), seeds (like chia seeds and pumpkin seeds), natural fibers, and quality protein sources (whey protein, collagen protein, pea protein, etc.).
What’s equally important is what good protein bars leave out: refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
Always check the ingredient list of your protein bars. Ideally, you’ll see familiar ingredients that are in line with your overall diet.
Depending on your diet, you may also want to look for a protein bar that is:
- Gluten free
You can follow these additional considerations if you want to; they depend on your unique nutritional needs and goals.
The best protein bar for you depends on your unique diet and weight loss goals. All of the protein bars on this list are worth a try. Try stocking them in your pantry so you always have a healthy snack on hand when cravings hit.